Studying sole parents could be up to $165 a week better off from today when the Accommodation Benefit rises to match the Accommodation Supplement, Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says.
A change to regulations means sole parents who take up full-time study will be eligible to receive the same rate of accommodation support as they would on a main benefit.
“Sole parent beneficiaries are at the highest risk of long-term welfare dependence and there is evidence this risk substantially reduces if sole parents have educational qualifications,” Mrs Tolley says.
“It makes sense to invest in education for sole parents and to make it easier for them to transition from a main benefit to student support.
“Currently there are around 3,500 sole parents accessing mainstream student support and we’re expecting this to rise to 5,500 by 2017/18. It’s vital we support these parents as they take steps to improve their futures, and the lives of their children.
“We know that on average sole parents with tertiary qualifications spend six and a half years less on a benefit compared to those who don’t, costing $80,000 less over a lifetime,” Mrs Tolley says.
The new rate will apply once students apply for their next period of study, usually the next academic year; and is expected to cost $3.8 million a year.